Spring has sprung! Warmer temperatures, decreasing snow, and a more intense sun has got Minnesotans excited for spring activities. Migratory birds are entering our flyways, monarchs have begun their journey back and song birds are making music once again. Spring has made its long awaited entrance into our area, and residents are gearing up for recreating in their yards once again!
One thing you may notice during your time outside is a wet turf area. This is common at this time of year, with the ground still being frozen below, not allowing infiltration of water. If a wet yard or standing water occurs throughout the year, however, there are solutions that can be effective in all situations. We often find that a combination of solutions, integrated together, can maximize effectiveness of the water management situations. Here are a few different systems with a brief overview on how they work:
French Drains- French drains are very common in the urban landscape for mitigating water in all areas of the landscape. However, you may never know they are there, which is a good thing. A french drain is basically a perforated plastic pipe wrapped in a cloth, surrounded by angular rock (buff limestone) and buried just below the surface of the turf. These are usually installed in a swale, to collect the water and let it infiltrate the pipe. The pipe is usually pitched to a pop-up emitter, where the water discharges into an area near a steet or a low traffic drainage area.
Dry Wells- Dry wells are effective when there is a low spot in the landscape and no where to move the water to. These are basically very large holes dug in the ground lined with fabric and filled with angular rock, then covered with turf or other desired landscape groundcover. These holes basically allow the water to collect in the low spot, then infiltrate into the air pockets between the angular rock and allowed to percolate the soil beneath the surface.
Rain Gardens- Rain gardens are a beautiful way to address drainage problems on a site. They consist of a shallow depression with an inlet and an overflow exit, with flowering plants and accent shrubs or small trees planted throughout. Water enters the garden, fills up to capacity and infiltrates the soil within 24 hours. These are a great way to mitigate water issues, bring in pollinators and create an aesthetically pleasing, eco-friendly environment on any residential site.
Dry Creek Beds- Dry Creek Beds are another ornamental way to move water from point A to point B. This type of water management system one that takes action above ground. First, a deep swale is dug in the area that you want to move water. We like to line the creek beds with a geo-grid fabric, so that the rocks that are placed in the bed do not sink in to the soil. We then place the largest boulders in the bed first, and place smaller rocks in succession. Installing different sized rocks in the bed creates a more natural, pleasing look to the dry creek bed. Now, when water makes its way into the bed, it will move down through the rocks, much like a natural creek bed.
Identifying the specific elevations and proper management of water concentration areas is important so that the system works, and this is especially important near buildings, where water can cause serious damage if improperly displaced. These systems can be incorporated and customized to any situation where water issues are encountered.